There are lots of ways to say “no” – some more polite than others.
Here are a few of our favorites:
I wish I could, but have promised my ________ (self, partner, kids, boss) not to take on any new projects, volunteer positions, or paid gigs until mid-(name the month). You expressed interest, but deferred any involvement for now.
An Affirmative No
I would love to help ________ (with your project, run your campaign, co-chair that event) but right now I am not accepting any new commitments. You admitted a desire but definitively turn the offer down.
If only you had asked me a month ago…I just accepted a demanding________ (position, task, project) that doesn’t allow me any extra bandwidth. Check back with me in 6 months. You just spared yourself an immediate commitment and left the door open to be invited back.
Align and Delegate
Thanks for ________ (asking, inviting me, thinking of me). I am in the middle of a huge undertaking (you don’t have to describe what) and beyond swamped but I’d love to hear who you find to help. You’ve let them know that you care about their cause but you’re not the right candidate. People appreciate honesty.
Set Your Own Terms
That sounds really interesting…I am still deciding between a few commitments that will be the focus of my ________ (year, first quarter, volunteer bucket). Can I let you know at the start of February? They will either agree to your timeline or need a faster response and move on to someone else.
The above examples are helpful with decluttering your time commitments and demands on your energy. Check back for advice on decluttering the STUFF of 2018.